When visiting Sri Lanka recently, I went to my favourite place to see the Elephants roaming around in the wilderness at Pinnawala.
Last time I was there in April, I had lunch with my driver at a little restaurant and was so surprised and delighted when the herd of elephants came charging down the street to take their bath in the river.
I had lunch at this restaurant and had a very sweet old man as a waiter. My dad had seen my photos of elephants going down the street whilst I was eating lunch and looking over the balcony to them charging below. He wanted the same experience so we visited this restaurant in the main street of Pinnawala which leads to the river, and yes where all the tourists go.
We again had this same little old man. So sweet, so mild in manner and most accomodating. Our meal wasn’t as good as last time, but he was very helpful. After we received the bill, I spoke to the old man about my last visit and said I’d seen him then. He said thank you and told us a little bit about how he had come to work there- how he travels 2 hours to get there from his home. There is no work where he lives, he’s in his 60’s, he needs work. He has to live there for a month and then visit home. He very humbly and matter of factly told us this story. He then nodded and smiled and went off about his business.
I had no money on me but asked dad for 500 Sri Lankan rupees straight away. I said I would pay it out of my own pocket later. This is the equivalent of $A5 or $US5. About the same cost as our entire meal.
We walked down and I walked straight up to the man and held his hand and placed it in his hand (I didn’t want his employer to see in case they took it.) I said “Sir, this is for you. Thank you.”
What a beautiful man – his sweet nature and smile had melted my heart. It wasn’t a lot for me to give, but I hope it helped him a little. He was so humble and kind – he expected nothing, this is why I gave it to him.
On our way back from viewing the elephants again, I came back and asked the man who was now standing on the street for a photo. Look at his beautiful smile!
Thank you sir! You made this a wonderful experience.
If you are ever in Pinnawala, visit this Hotel Elephant View Restaurant & Bar in the high street.